Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell beef explored as incredible stat emerges

Joshua Rogers April 4, 2022
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell beef explored as incredible stat emerges
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

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After an incredible statistic emerged this week, we revisit the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell beef, including where it started and where it might be at now.

The Utah Jazz aren’t in the best of places right now. They’ve lost six of their last seven games and find themselves as the No.6 seed in the Western Conference, teetering above the play-in tournament.

After their 111-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors recently, an incredible stat about former All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert emerged online.

Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Incredible stat relating to Mitchell and Gobert emerges

While Gobert and Mitchell’s relationship has been icy at times, it’s often difficult to see how that manifests itself on court. However, Twitter user Dustin Taylor shared an incredible statistic recently showing that Mitchell, on average, only passes to Gobert twice per game.

StatMuse added that the actual number is 2.3 passes per game from Mitchell to Gobert, while others pointed out Trae Young has more assists (152) to Clint Capela this season than Donovan Mitchell has passes (151) to Rudy Gobert.

Taylor then further broke down the drop off in Donovan Mitchell’s passes to Gobert year by year. As he points out, the numbers have pretty much dropped off a cliff since 2019.

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell beef explored

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell‘s ‘beef’ is complicated, and dates back several years. The first rumblings of tension between the pair occurred in 2020 when Gobert infamously touched all the mics at a press conference at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Frenchman then became the first NBA player to test positive for the virus and days later Mitchell also tested positive.

Their relationship improved when they were in the Orlando Bubble and into the 2020-2021 season. Mitchell told The Athletic at the time that the “controversy” had brought out a “different level of tenacity in both of us”.

However, with the Jazz’s fortunes turning since the start of the year, fractures have started to show once more. In January, Gobert was critical of his team, particularly regarding their lack of defensive effort.

“When I watch some of these other teams like the Suns or the Warriors, those guys are a step ahead of us in terms of winning habits,” said Gobert, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. “They take every game personally. (Suns guard) Devin Booker is playing his a** off defensively. I’ve been watching him compared with two years ago.

“Guys like that, they buy in. You can tell they take pride in playing defense, stopping their man, doing whatever they can defensively to stop the other team and be a part of a winning culture. I think we’re not there yet, but I think we’re gonna get there.”

Mitchell then liked one of Walden’s tweets implying Gobert was sub-tweeting (talking about someone without explicitly mentioning their name) Mitchell in the interview:

Mitchell responded to Gobert’s interview saying: “We all as a group hold each other accountable. That’s his way, I guess. I’m not too concerned about it. His just happened this way. Cool.”

Mitchell addresses relationship with Gobert in recent podcast

More recently, Mitchell sat down with Yahoo! Sports for the Posted Up With Chris Haynes podcast to discuss his relationship with Gobert. Speaking about Gobert’s interview, he said he would have preferred it if it was done “in house” but added it was “water under the bridge”.

Mitchell then opened up about their relationship as a whole, saying: “First of all, we’re good. I just want to go on record with saying that. I think it’s interesting that stuff happens, and he and I have never played at this high a level together since we’ve been here. So I make the joke, ‘For a group that hates each other, man, we’re playing pretty well.’

“Everybody’s going to have something to say so, for now, I think it’s just time to understand that, in this business, the NBA, sometimes people can speak on things and it doesn’t have to always necessarily be true. It could just be stuff that’s being said.”

Ultimately, we aren’t privy to Gobert and Mitchell’s day-to-day interactions so don’t fully know the extent of their relationship. However, the average passes stat doesn’t make good reading. The Jazz will hope the pair can put aside any differences for the good of the team.

Mitchell and Gobert are both under contract through to the 2024-25 season so, for now at least, they are going to have to find a way to get along.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.